Short thrifting trip CT / NJ / NY

At the tail end of February, I decided to do a last minute thrifting trip. Very last minute, like less than 24hrs before I actually left. It was a combination of a few things: I had a few days off from the day job and this winter has been very mild.  I decided to take advantage of it and hit the road. This whirlwind tour would be eight stores in four days in three different states!

Connecticut has been good to us in the past, so we decided focus on some of our  favorite locations and explore some new areas.

Monday – Connecticut
Red White Blue – Waterbury, CT – All of their locations run independently of each other, so each store has it’s own sale going on. I really lucked out, two colors were 75% off and a third was 50% off. The 75% items go very quick, so get there early!
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Red White & Blue’s are CASH only!
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Haul Review

Lots of bloggers write posts about their awesome thrift store hauls and they guess how much they are potentially going to make off it. Which is fine, I enjoy reading those articles myself.

I want to cover some of the realities. Most bloggers rarely tell you how long their items took to sell. Or in some scenarios, that it might NEVER sell.

So here is a typical pick for me. These items were purchased two years ago. I purposed waited to write about this. To give it time, to get the the full story.

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The local area Rescue Missions had a huge 1/2 off sale day. I visited four stores.
I spend $94.09 altogether, purchasing 53 items.
-1 item – Mug rack went to a friend
-2 items – The mixing bowl and cassettes went to another friend
-4 items – Things for the house

Of the remaining 46 items, 14 have sold to date for $300.39
All but one of those items sold within 30 days of purchase. The one item sold in 60 days.
So only 25% of my items have sold.

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I have 31 items remaining. 20 of which are the cups and mugs. I never got around to listing them.
Two are currently listed.
I stand to make $100 off the remaining items. It’s never good to have merchandise sitting around. It can’t sell, if it’s not listed.
So maybe I’ll make a little challenge for myself. How fast can I sell the remaining items?

So a few points:

Research is key
Yes, we all have a smart phone nowadays and can research prices with the touch of a finger.
More research is needed though. You can’t stand in the store and look up the prices of 100 items. You will be there ALL day. You to need to be able to locate items you want quickly and move on.

Know the difference between a vintage item and a modern recreation. Get familiar with a brand, know it inside and out, all of the little details.

Of the above items, I was familiar with most of these items. I may have researched one item. This is why a good chunk of them sold in the first 30 days and how I was able to go to 4 stores in one day. I was familiar with what sells and was able to locate them quickly.

“Bread and Butter” item
As a seller, you have to have a “bread and butter” item. The type of item that you stock and sell the most of. They are something you can find everyday at a thrift store and easily sell. Some popular items with sellers: Name brand polo shirts (Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren),  novelty shirts, baseball caps, sports apparel (jerseys, jackets, sweatshirts, shirts).
Whatever you decide on as your item, know it well. You will not retire off selling these items, but they will give you a steady source of income.

Storage
Everything must have a home… or so we would like to believe. It needs to go somewhere. Otherwise, you run the risk of overtaking your living areas.
If you have a barn, shed or a huge basement and all of your items are neatly organized, labelled and in totes, you could potentially storage thousands of items.
If you living in an apartment with your significant other, maybe a few cats or a few kids, space is at a premium. In which case, maybe a storage locker would be a best option. Or perhaps buy smaller items that can be tucked away under a bed or something.

Of the above items, 32 items are just sitting around, taking up space. Not good. Fortunately they are smaller items. Remember though, they add up.

Toss and burn
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you have an item that will just not sell. So how long is too long? Depends on your storage situation.  Remember, an unsold item is taking up real estate and has money tied to it.

Here are few suggestions:
a) Double check all of your info in your listing. Check for typos, if you have the correct keywords, is your shipping rate correct, which countries you ship to, basically anything that would limit how many people can see your item.
b) Increase the price. Crazy huh? I’ve read many stories from sellers where, after increasing their asking price, their item sold shortly after. Nothing scientific about it and it helps your bottom line. Can’t hurt to try.
I’ve  personally have done this a few times myself and have had good results.
c) Try a different avenue for sales. If you sell on ebay, have you tried etsy? Maybe your item is best suited for craigslist? Try a facebook or yahoo group. Or any number of those selling apps like wallapop. Don’t limit your sell to just one area.
d) Round up similar duds and make a lot.
e) Blowout duds at a yardsale, garage sale, flea market, etc.
f) Last resort – donate it or toss it. Cut your losses. It’s not worth holding onto.

Of the above items, I’m going to give them another few months before I donate them. I already made my money. So it’s no huge loss if they are gone. If anything, I will have freed up some space.


 

Newly listed items:

Store           J       F     M     A     M     J     J     A     S     O     N     D
Ebay           47     00    00    00    00   00   00   00    00    00    00    00
Etsy            62     00    00    00    00    00  00    00   00    00   00     00

2015 New Years Resolutions Reviewed / 2016 and beyond

Here we are again, making new years promises. We will review last years and make some new ones.
1) Write a blog entry once a week  – FAILED – I got caught up writing extremely lengthy entries that I never posted. I posted three entries. Wrote another seven that aren’t quite done.

2) List more items: goal eight items per day; four for Ebay, four for Etsy – Failed – If I had hit my goal, I would have listed 2,920 items. I roughly listed 600. It was a lofty goal, it would have been nice to hit.

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Thrifting Binghamton NY

Everyone writes about their super incredible,  awesome thrifting trips.
Today I’m gonna write about a bad one, cause it happens.

I realized that I’ve never done a proper thrifting trip in Binghamton, NY. There several major thrift stores and few smaller independent ones. I’ve previously visited only two thrift stores in the area.
Sounded like a fun day trip.

#1) Salvation Army Endicott, NY

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First up was this cute, smaller, older Salvation Army. I was kinda of hoping this out-of-the-way location might hold some gems. First thing I see when I walked in was the “Brand Name” rack. I rolled my eyes. Nothing like paying top dollar for what one perceives as high-end. “American Eagle” is not high-end folks. I walked around and found $5 t-shirts….

There was no gold here. There wasn’t  tin either. There wasn’t much of anything actually. Nothing in the way of furniture. The changing rooms were boxes with curtains on them. I asked where the restrooms were and was informed that they did not have one. I was about to leave when I spot a staircase. It leads to a small room full of vinyl records. I’m excited, I haven’t seen this volume of records in a thrift store ever. Easily over a thousand LPs.  They were haphazardly piled everywhere. I flipped through them and sorted as I went. After 35 mins, I give up. I only made it through a third of them. It was too big of  an unorganized mess and nothing of interest to me.

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List making

It’s always good to make a list, especially if you take your thrifting seriously. It’s even better to make a great list.

We here at Blanco Bros. keep several lists.
It is very important for several reasons:

1) Keep track of what you already have and don’t: I have lost track over the years of how many times I purchased a dvd/cd/lp that I already owned or worst: I have accidentally purchased two or three more copies and now have several copies of the same album.

Sometimes with cds and records there is a variant version. I get them mixed up and end up purchasing the non-variant version.

2) Keep track of pieces or parts:  We all have that item that is almost complete and missing an essential part. It also serves as a reminder when you out and about to hunt and ask.
Ex: I attended toyfest this past summer with no list. It was horrible, I instantly saw several items I “thought” I needed. I ended up purchasing several duplicates and not purchasing the items I really did need.

3) Measurements, measurements, measurements: I don’t care how good someone’s memory is, there is no way you can remember everything. Especially measurements. I keep a page of several sizes of posters and frames that I need.

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New Years Resolutions

Every year, we all make promises we can’t keep to ourselves. Call it part of the fun or laziness of New Years Resolutions.
For myself, this year I want to make some definite changes and set solid goals. Making a list online will help me keep focus. Once the end of the year hits, I can check to see if I completed my goals. So here we go:
1) Write blog entry once a week.  – Sounds like a lofty goal seeing as my last update was in September, but it’s not because of lack of material. I’ve been sitting on several entries for months now. Here’s what happens: I start writing but want the best information possible so I sit on it and continuously tweak it. So posts like the history of Syroco/Homco/Burwood etc are as complete and accurate as I can get them. I have to get better about posting and updating on a regular basis. Also I want to write more posts about shopping and buying. Take more pictures for posts as well. Everyone likes pictures.
As it is, this entry took a week to write. =/

2) List more items: goal eight items per day; four for Ebay, four for Etsy – Since my personal schedule is never the same everyday, I find myself sometimes not listing any items at all. The saying goes, “If it’s not out, you can’t sell it.” If it’s not online, it’s just sitting in my basement, taking up space. I’m probably sitting on over 300 items to list at the moment. If I list eight items a day, I should be able to get though that pile in about a month and a half. So if I can at least do eight (why stop there?), I should be in good standing.

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This is just a small portion of what I have to list. I have at least three totes and a few boxes.

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Day trip to Philadelphia

I will start off by saying that a day trip to Philly is just not nearly enough time. Not that we thought it was. Traffic and construction unfortunately dictated where we going, not visiting and arrival times.

Originally the plan to arrive at Ikea in Conshohocken by 11am. After a late start and tons of construction throughout all of PA, we decided to head over to the Touch and Go Childrens Museum and Bulk Vintage first, since they both close by 6pm. I dropped the Mrs and the lil one off and sped off to grab lunch.  The Mrs said the said the Touch and Go Museum was really nice. Our daughter had a wonderful time. It was a bit on the pricey side though. $18 a person – no matter their age, no discount for lil children or any discount to be found online. I can’t think of many museums that don’t discount for toddlers, if not offer free admission. There is some sort of “discount day” sponsored by Target once a month, unfortunately it was not today.

– rant – Seriously Pennsylvania, what’s the deal with all of the construction? I can’t think of a single time in the past 18 years I drove on I 81 and didn’t see any active construction. I have no idea what you are fixing because your entire stretch of I 81 still looks horrible. We rode your very expensive turnpike and those roads looked even worse. And of course, there was construction on that as well. – end rant –

philly - sonnys

I’ve been dreaming about having a cheesesteak in Philly for years now. It’s like eating a hotdog at one of those pushcarts or bagel at bakery in NYC. After a little research, I decided my first authentic cheesesteak experience was going be: Sonny’s Famous Steaks.  I read several reviews and this one in GQ was pretty descriptive and informative.

Their review of Sonny’s – “Service is terrific—the folks behind the counter can’t do enough for you. I asked for more onions, and they were brought to our table. Want more napkins or more sauce? Help yourself. The rolls are very soft, the beef juicier and more plentiful than most, the provolone nicely gooey, the Cheez Whiz well integrated into the meat. ” Pretty much spot on. The bread was very soft and delicious. Nice heaping piles of juicy beef and gooey provolone. It was perfect. I ordered a side of fries. The cashier gave  me my fries and drink when I ordered. When my cheesesteak came up, she gave me another order of fries. I politely told her she had give me some already. She smiled and said don’t worry about it, just to take them. Super nice!

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East Aurora, NY / Toy Sale / Fisher Price

After putting it off for 10+ years, I finally made it out to the The Fisher-Price Collectors Club sale in East Aurora, NY on July 26th, which is specifically for Fisher Price toys.

The back story of me putting this off for so long is quite pathetic. I first read about it in 2002. For years, I didn’t have the money to make the trip. In 2007, I lost all of my playsets I had been collecting; in this building I use to live in (long story). I lost the castle, the McDonalds restaurant, both Sesame St houses, a western set, a garage, farm and many many others. A year or so later, I read they closed the toy museum in East Aurora and the Toyfest was done (2008 -2009). Or so I thought. Early this year (2014) I was searching something else on the web and came across the Fisher Price Club website and read the toy show had been resurrected.

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Before I left, I forgot to write down WHAT I NEEDED!  I wasn’t trying to complete any little people sets because I don’t have any playsets… yet. I think I was just so excited about just going, I didn’t cross my mind to make a list. After the long anticipated wait, I can say it was definitely worth making the trip. There were 10 or so vendors and they had so many great items. I needed specific magnet letters for a few school days desks I’m trying to complete. I was able to get a complete set and some random ones. I guessed on some and managed to get a few I needed.

 

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The Fisher Price Collectors Club sends out a paper newsletter for members a couple times a year. They also have a group on facebook.

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Thrifting thru Connecticut

Two weeks ago, I took a little vacation with the family and thrifted our way across western and central Connecticut.

Monday 4/21

Savers Brookfield – “Sticker shock” immediately comes to mind. I’ve been thrifting around upstate New York for over a decade now. The prices in CT by comparison are on the high end of things. For example they had some higher end used jeans in the $19.99 and $24.99 range. I’m used to paying $7.99 tops.  After I came to terms with their prices, things went well.  It’s a pretty large location. Well organized and super clean. Got several items and was able to find a few good deals.

Goodwill Brookfield – Similar to Savers in Brookfield, a bit on the pricey side. Much smaller location, but jammed to the gills with merchandise. They had lots of housewares and womens clothing. Not much for mens or childrens clothing. One of the only locations we visited all week that had any musical instruments.

Salvation Army Danbury – My favorite location of the day. They didn’t have as much high end merchandise as Brookfield stores, but what they lacked; they made up for it in volume. Two stories of thrifting gold. First floor packed full of mens, womens and childrens clothing. Variety of newer and vintage items. Upstairs had tons of furniture. I like how they had several living space setups; coffee table, end table, lamps and couch with decorated with other accessories. Similar as if you walked into Raymour and Flanigan. The entire store was very reasonably priced. I will definitely visit again next time I’m in the area.

Goodwill Danbury – I wouldn’t call this location a thrift store, maybe a re-seller of unsold Target merchandise. Very small location, little to no furniture. I got the kids some Target blowouts and that was about it. If I was in the area again, I would probably skip it over.

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